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Thursday, March 21, 2013

How big is the policy book?

In a discussion about the 12th grade humanities class at The Center School, commenter parent wrote:
"They've got so many procedures and policies, it's impossible to follow them." I have heard Director Martin-Morris describe them as a long shelf stuffed with binders. That's not accurate.

I hear this sort of thing all the time. I also observe the reaction I get from people when my knowledge of School Board policies is displayed. They are generally surprised. That's not appropriate.

Here's the truth: You could probably read all of the policies in a single sitting in a single afternoon.
There aren't that many policies and most of them are pretty brief. You, too, could become a policy expert between school and dinner. Here they are.

You will find that most of them are meaningless and un-enforceable mush. Not's a shame, but not surprising.

What to know what surprises me? The fact that the board and the superintendent appear ignorant of the policies. I'm surprised that so few members of the district leadership appear to know the policies - including the policies that govern their daily work.

There doesn't appear to be anyone with the duty of enforcing the policies. It's the Board's job, but they refuse to do it. They try to delegate that work to the superintendent but a large number of the policies govern the superintendent, and he can't very well police himself, can he? Not only is that bad governance and bad management, it's absurd.

19 comments:

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

I agree Charlie. In fact it appears when Enfield wasn't out with the ladies who lunch, she was signing Superintendent policies crafted by her unethical lieutenant Holly Ferguson.

Anonymous said...

So teachers get to say, "Meh, there are SO MANNNNYYYYY Rules!" and not do their job?

-Lemons

Kate Martin said...

Running for mayor right now, I'm getting to know Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. They're super watch dogs. It seems like since they're partners with SPS, we could perhaps figure out a way for them to policy audit as a newfangled function of ethics or elections?

mirmac1 said...

District legal and sr. staff regularly shine on the OEEC staff.

Anonymous said...

Policy 5240 states "All principals and administrators with staff evaluation responsibilities shall be appropriately trained and shall be expected to demonstrate the necessary skills to implement the staff evaluation plan of the district."
However, a recent raft of public information documents reveal that there is no evidence of training of any principals in the staff evaluation plan.

Board Watcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lemons, what are you talking about? It's not the teachers who are complaining about those policies as much as parents (because district staff don't follow them).

Kate, I doubt anyone in leadership in the district would allow your suggestion to happen.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Ethics and Elections submitted two ethics complaints in regard to the District violating federal laws. The evidence was straightforward. In the three months since these complaints were submitted there has been no action on the part of the district.

Biard Watcher

mirmac1 said...

Ironic, no. Ron English and crew protecting the law-breakers. Frankly, the EEC should report directly to the board.

Anonymous said...

@ Board Watcher:Will you provide details around these complaints so the larger group can track progress?

District Watcher

Anonymous said...

I am willing to provide deatails but not sure if this is the proper venue.

Board Watcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

If anyone has any details they would like to share on any cases, pending or otherwise, please let me know at
sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

mirmac1 said...

Hi Board Watcher, we should compare notes. email me too at cleomirandamurphy@yahoo.com

Charlie Mas said...

Who can you call when a policy has been violated?

I have tried everyone - the Board, the superintendent, the ombudsman, customer service, and the Ethics Officer.

Not only have none of them ever taken any action, none of them have ever even accepted responsibility.

Maureen said...

mirmac1

Ron English reports directly to the board, how's that working out for us?

snarkalert

cpvmac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

Maureen, it appeared to me that Ron English reported to our ex Bd Prez DeBell. Now I guess he's a free agent.

Maureen said...

(I don't suppose it matters, but Maureen or snarkalert? above wasn't me. I sign in with Google, so my name is blue.)

mirmac1 said...

blue Maureen, I thought that didn't sound like you : )